ARC Review: Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega

Title: Witchlings

Author: Claribel A. Ortega

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links:

Goodreads Synopsis

A magical adventure for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Nevermoor, about three witchlings who must work together to do the impossible if they have any hope of earning their full powers.

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…

With action-packed adventure, a coven of quirky witchlings, Claribel A. Ortega’s signature humor and girl-power vibes, this middle grade Latine witch story is truly a modern classic.

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WWW Wednesday: Mar 30, 2022

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.

Current Reads

  • Scorpica by G.R. Macallister: I was sent an e-ARC of this book through Netgalley because the publisher sent an email asking if I was interested and, after reading the synopsis, I couldn’t say no! It sounds epic in the best way, with lots of moving parts and intricate world-building. So far, it’s living up to what I was imagining. Of course, I’ve only just started it, so who knows if it’ll keep up, but right now, I’m really loving it! Let’s hope that continues.
  • Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick: I’m reading this book for a blog tour sponsored by The Write Reads. It’s a middle grade that promises creepy vibes and, so far, it is delivering! I’m having a great time with this story and am fully invested in what happens to these kids. Also, love the fact that there are pigs, though I am a little worried for their well-being…
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Top 5 Tuesday: Books On Books

Top 5 Tuesday is a fun, weekly meme that asks you to pick 5 books that fit that week’s theme. It was created by Bionic Bookworm and is currently being hosted by Meeghan Reads. You should check out their wonderful blog for more details and the list of prompts!

Hello, reader!

After quite the break, I’m doing another Top 5 Tuesday! I’m bad at scavenger hunts, so I’ve kinda been avoiding the March topics, heh. But today’s hunt is an easy one… I had to find books with books on them! Which, as someone who loves to read books about books, was pretty simple. That’s not to say that all the books I picked have bookish themes. Just four out of the five 😂

Alright, let’s dive into the post, shall we?

#1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Starting off with an incredible story that was one of my first “book about books” read. I loved this tale about an elusive author who hires a young writer to write her biography. It’s an eerie and intriguing story that had me hooked from the beginning. Just talking about it now kind of makes me want to read it again! But, first, there are other Setterfield novels I would love to pick up.

#2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This is one book on this list that isn’t explicitly a book about a book or one with bookish themes. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be a loose fairytale retelling, though I couldn’t tell you which one off the top of my head, so there’s that. And, if you squint, you can see a teeny, tiny book on the right side, lol. Either way, I really enjoyed this story and I found myself completely enthralled with the world.

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#5OnMyTBR – Published Before 2000

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!

Hello, reader!

It’s once again Monday and that means it’s time for another 5 On My TBR! This week’s topic had me struggling, I’m not gonna lie. I had to find five books on my TBR that were published before 2000! It’s not that I don’t have books on my TBR that were published that long ago. It’s just that most of the ones I could think of off the top of my head (Assassin’s Apprentice, Les Misérables) are books I’ve talked about over and over again on this blog. So I decided to root around for some older books that I don’t talk about nearly as much!

After a lot of combing through my TBR, I’ve found five that I really want to bump up my TBR pile.

#1. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

This is one of those books that just sounds like it’s going to be quite the experience. It’s a glimpse into the mind of a psychopath going about his life. If the movie is any indication, it won’t shy away from some gruesome stuff. I’m excited to give it a try and see if I get on with the writing and the story. From the reviews I’ve glanced through, it is either going to be a hit or a huge miss, lol.

#2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

I honestly don’t remember what compelled me to add this to my TBR. But, having re-read the synopsis, I have to admit that I’m intrigued. A man that waits literally decades to re-confess his love to a woman? Sounds like it could either be real sweet or super creepy (leaning towards creepy… does that make me jaded?). Either way, I’m interested enough to read the book and find out for myself!

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Down the TBR Hole #28

It’s time for a new round of Down the TBR Hole! This is where I go through my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ shelf and do a bit of cleaning up. If you want to see the full description of what this post is all about, check out my first round HERE.

Hello, reader!

You’ll be proud of me. For the first time in the history of my Down the TBR Hole posts (I think), the number of books on my Goodreads Want to Read shelf has gone down instead of up! My end total last round was 730 books and I’m currently sitting at 729 books. Yeah, I know, it’s only one book, but I’m gonna take it 😂

We all know this is subject to change at any moment, especially if I spend any amount of time on book Twitter, so let’s see if I can trim a few books I’m no longer interested in to make room for new ones!

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

Okay, this book sounds like it could be dramatic and intriguing. It’s a generational family drama following two Irish sisters as they move to the United States in the 1950s. It has incredible reviews. And, yet, I am completely uninterested in reading this. Perhaps it will make its way back at some other time? But, for now…

Verdict: Remove

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

This has a lot going for it. It’s a short collection of short stories that sounds like it would be chilling. I typically enjoy Stephen King’s writing. But it also sounds like it may be connected to some of his previous work that I haven’t yet read. I have so many Stephen King books on my TBR. I think I can sacrifice this one.

Verdict: Remove

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

I will fully admit that I added this book because I liked the cover. Until today, I had no earthly clue what this book was actually about. Having read the synopsis, though, this sounds right up my alley! A thriller involving an author and his editor? In which the author’s latest novel might not be entirely fictional? Sign me up!

Verdict: Keep

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Book Blogger Hop: Mar 25- 31

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Crazy-For-Books and is currently being hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a new question is posted for book bloggers to answer in the coming week. The purpose of the hop is connection and community. You can discover new blogs to follow, new books to read, and you may end up with some new followers, as well!

This Week’s Question

Do you have a threshold on books where you will offer the author feedback but won’t review?

Submitted by Heather @ MM Romance Reviewed.

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First Lines Friday #39

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first (I cheat a little bit here *cough*)
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!

Hello, reader!

We’ve reached the end of the week, which means it’s time for another First Lines Friday! I have a lot of books that are calling to me right now, so it was hard to pick one I wanted to feature. I decided to go with one of my current library books that I’m very excited to read. It’s also a book on my “12 friends, 12 recommendations” TBR! I haven’t had a chance to crack it open yet, but I’m hoping to pick it up soon.

Now let’s see if the first few lines can make me want to read it even more!

The Line(s):

“There’s a smudge of lipstick on the collar of his shirt. She sees it. She says nothing about it. Instead, she stands there, bobbing the crying baby up and down like the needle of a sewing machine piercing fabric.”

The Hints:

This is a thriller…

… written by a fairly popular thriller author…

… that involves a disappearance that happened eleven years ago.

The Reveal:

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Meet the Book Blogger Take Two

Hello, reader!

Today felt like a good day for a book tag, so I thought I’d bring you the Meet the Blogger Book Tag version 2.0! I did this tag awhile back, but the questions were completely different. So now I’m gonna do this new version because it looks like fun and I was tagged by the wonderful Danni @ _ForBooksSake! You should definitely check out her blog if you’re looking for that good, bookish content and especially if you like a good thriller. Danni knows her stuff 😊

Alright, let’s get to the post!

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you (Thank you, Danni!)
  • Mention the creator Lauren @ Lala’s Book Reviews
  • Tag as many (or as few) people as you’d like
  • Have fun and get to know one another!


Introduce yourself!

Hello again, reader! I’m Kerri and I wear a lot of hats outside of the blogging world. I work as a medical laboratory scientist in microbiology and molecular which is both a lot of fun and a lot of work. I’m a mom to a 15 year old and an 8 year old which certainly keeps life interesting. I’ve been married to my husband for almost nine years (the mind, it boggles!) and I can’t imagine life without my weird, loving family.

Something most everyone wants to know…do you have any pets?

Of course! We have three cats; Felicia (our void kitty), Nelson (our grey boi), and Marmalade (our smooth-brained orange laddie). Our most recent addition is our pup-pup, Aspen, who is very much a mutt, but mostly lab… we think.

What is your favourite thing to drink?

I suppose my go-to beverage is boring, ol’ water because the military drilled the importance of staying hydrated into me. My favorite “treat yo self” beverage has to be hot chocolate! Preferably french vanilla hot chocolate 😋

What is your favourite season?

Spring and Summer! Basically whenever it’s warm because I live in New England and I hate being cold, lol. I also love when the plants and animals start to bloom/re-emerge after Winter. And I hate Winter so much I’m happy to see its backside. Winter is the WORST.

Do you have any special talents?

Err… not really? I do have a good singing voice and was in an All-State choir you had to be specially picked for when I was in fifth grade. I miss being in choir, honestly, which is probably why I randomly sing all. the. time. Seriously, you follow me around for a couple minutes and you’ll probably hear me sing 😂


When and why did you start your blog?

I wrote my first post in August of 2019, but I didn’t truly start blogging until around November of that year. Something like that! It took me a moment to gather my courage to actually start blogging for real. As for the why, I wanted some place where I could completely geek out about books and be among similarly minded people. Reading has always been my preferred hobby, but I really didn’t have anyone to talk to about it at length like I wanted to. Thus my blog came into being!

What is something that you wish you knew about blogging when you first started?

That, no matter how much I want to, I cannot do ALL the blog tours/review requests! When I first started, I tried to sign up for every, little tour I could and I tried to accommodate every review request that came my way. And I burned myself out super fast. I had to pull back within a few months because this thing I had created for fun was starting to feel like a chore. I certainly didn’t want that! There are still moments when I overbook (haaaaaaaa!) myself, but I’ve gotten better at keeping a good balance.

What has been the hardest part about blogging?

For sure making myself a blogging schedule and sticking to it. I still don’t have a schedule I’m happy with, though I am pretty proud of the fact that I have posted at least once a day since the beginning of 2022. That’s the goal, but I want to get to the point where I also have a day dedicated to blogging where I can write my posts for the week and schedule them. That way I don’t feel so stressed out during the week when I have work and chores and tons of other stuff to worry about. I will get there one day!

What has been the most rewarding part of blogging?

Oh definitely the friends I’ve made and the bookish community! This is absolutely my favorite corner of the internet and I’ve met some of the best people because of my blog. I’m so glad to have these awesome folks in my life.

Do you write your posts ahead of time or write them the day of posting?

Heh, I was just talking about this 😅 I try to write my posts ahead of the day that I want them to go up. Mostly because I’m usually pretty tired after getting home from work and it can take extra motivation to sit and write. That doesn’t always happen, though, so there are plenty of times I write posts the same day I post them. I’m hoping to get to a place where I can consistently schedule posts! Perhaps when life in general is less chaotic.


Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Oof, this is a tough one. Umm… this is subject to change and in no particular order, but we’ll go with:

  • Jordan Ifueko
  • Margaret Owen
  • Erin Morgenstern
  • Angie Thomas
  • V.E. Schwab

What genre do you read the most?

Most definitely fantasy! Fantasy will always be my first and one true love ❤

What genre surprised you by how much you love it?

Probably romance. I mean, I didn’t think I was going t absolutely hate romance, but I’m surprised at how much I’ve loved the ones I picked up so far. I should have explored this genre ages ago!

Which popular book didn’t live up to the hype for you?

Sigh… the answer right now has to be Witches Steeped in Gold. It pains me to say it, but I had a hard time getting into that one, so much so that I still haven’t finished it! I’ve heard it picks up later on in the book, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to continue. I’m hoping to pick it back up soon and re-attempt finishing it. Perhaps I’ll love it once I’ve actually read it.

Who are some popular authors you haven’t read?

There are tons, haha. I think the big two are Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare. I do want to try a book by SJM but I honestly have no interest in the Shadowhunter books.

What upcoming release are you excited to read?

I can barely contain my excitement for R.F. Kuang’s newest novel, Babel, or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution. And it’s not simply because I’m love with that long ass title 😂 This sounds like the dark academia book of my dreams! I may have pre-ordered the shiny Waterstones edition as soon as the author posted about it because I couldn’t resist! I can’t wait to have this book in my hands.

Do you listen to music while reading?

Usually, no, but I can listen to music while reading. I do sometimes enjoy the experience of it, as well. It can’t have words, though. If it’s music that I can sing along to, I’m gonna start singing and then my book will be forgotten, haha. I’ve been known to put on a lo-fi channel and just vibe and read, though.

Where else can we find you online?


WWW Wednesday: Mar 23, 2022

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.

Current Reads

  • Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid: Yup, I’m still reading this non-fiction. Don’t worry, though… I’m not taking awhile with this one because I don’t like it. On the contrary, I’m finding it fascinating! Heartbreaking, yet fascinating. And I think that’s why I’m taking my time with it. I want to absorb all the information this book has to offer on the struggles First Nations women and girls have to deal with simply because of who they are. It’s a topic I know only a little about and I want to expand my knowledge. This book does it in a way that is both respectful to the victims and doesn’t feel like I’m sitting in a lecture. I’m really enjoying it, so far.
  • Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega: I finally started one of my most anticipated reads of the year and, so far, it’s just as magical as I was imagining! I’m only a few pages in, but there’s already a toad named Edgar Allan Toad and Seven is utterly endearing. I can’t wait to continue!
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Blog Tour Spotlight: These Walls Were Never Really There by Bryan Blears

Hello, reader!

It’s my pleasure to bring you another spotlight for a blog tour sponsored by The Write Reads! The book I’m featuring today is a compelling contemporary that is partially based on the author’s own life experiences. These Walls Were Never Really There by Bryan Blears sounds riveting and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

First, I want to thank Dave @ The Write Reads and all the folks behind the scenes for allowing me to participate in this tour. It’s always fun discovering new reads, even if I’m too busy to read them right this second. And I do love promoting books and authors ❤

Speaking of, let’s get to the post!

Book Details

  • Title: These Walls Were Never Really There
  • Author: Bryan Blears
  • Publication date: April 1st, 2022
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Age group: Adult


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